Last Updated on July 19, 2020 by Markeyus Franks
Can Netflix Detect VPN? The quick answer is yes and no. Netflix can detect the IP Addresses associated with your VPN, but not your exact VPN. Netflix can identify a large amount traffic coming from a particular IP address which usually signals a VPN.
Netflix has revolutionized the world of home entertainment with its video streaming service, but it hasn’t been able to escape some of the realities of international distribution.
It is all-too-common for popular shows and movies to be available on Netflix in some countries but not in others. One such example is the hit show, Friends, which remains on Netflix in the UK. In the US, however, Warner Bros Studios pulled the show from Netflix to place it on HBO Max.
These regional discrepancies are even more frustrating if you are traveling abroad, as your current location determines your available content, not your place of residence. So if you want to watch your favorite show while on holiday or working abroad and it’s not available in that country, you’re stuck waiting until you get back home.
Fortunately, VPNs, or Virtual Private Networks, can get around this by routing your connection so that it appears to come from a different country. This fools Netflix (and any other service you might use) into thinking you are located within that country.
Can Netflix detect VPN
The good news is Netflix can’t detect VPNs. The bad news is that practically speaking, it doesn’t matter that they don’t know whether a connection is from a VPN or not. When you connect to the Internet, you are assigned an IP address, which acts a little like your home address.
When Netflix streams a movie to you, it is sending data to that IP address where your computer, TV, or phone app will receive it. There is no practical way for Netflix to distinguish between a legitimate IP address and a VPN.
However, the smaller the number of IP addresses a VPN has available to it, the more connections Netflix will receive from those addresses, and that serves as a red flag for the streaming service. When this has happened if you’re using a VPN and you encounter the following error;
“You seem to be using an unblocker or proxy. Please turn off any of these services and try again.” Error Code: S7111-1331-5059
Related: What Does A VPN Hide
Why Does Netflix Block Certain VPNs?
Once Netflix has identified an IP address that is sending an excessive amount of traffic their way, they might block that address. This means that, when Netflix prevents a particular VPN from connecting, it is not that VPN they are blocking; it is the servers that the VPN uses.
The result of this behavior is that VPNs with a smaller number of servers will soon get blocked by Netflix, as they will be more easily detectable. Adding more servers or keeping the userbase low is one way for VPNs to mitigate this, but there is no way to prevent Netflix from blocking IP addresses if it chooses to.
The main reason they do this is because of the regional restrictions we mentioned above. If a movie is unreleased in a particular region or is licensed to a rival streaming service, Netflix is legally obligated not to stream that content to that region.
Top VPNs That Work With Netflix
Fortunately, some VPNs have managed to stay ahead of Netflix and still allow you to connect to the streaming service.
One of the more recognizable names in the VPN world, ExpressVPN is a little more expensive than some of its rivals at $6.67/mo but has a solid reputation as a reliable VPN service.
ExpressVPN has an extensive secure server network that provides excellent speeds and reliability, as well as keeping it off of Netflix’s VPN radar. It supports iOS and Android apps, a split tunneling feature, and browser extensions.
ExpressVPN is also fully audited to show that no logs are kept. Help and support are available through 24/7 live chat.
NordVPN also has a privacy audit of no-logging to its name. For a little less than ExpressVPN at $2.68/mo (on a 36-month plan), you will get many of the same features as Express.
NordVPN boasts double data encryption, Onion support, and malware and phishing protection. There is limited support for Linux and iOS; however, the usefulness of this support is dubious as only a few servers support the protocol that this is built on.
There is a range of pricing options available, with the three-year plan being one of the cheapest deals around for this quality of VPN. If you don’t want to commit to a long term contract, however, you will be paying quite a bit more. For example, the monthly plan is $11.95/mo.
If your main goal is to access Netflix from a different country to the one you are in, Windscribe will do the job. It’s worth noting that it lacks many features found in ExpressVPN and NordVPN, however. For instance, there is no 24/7 live chat or audited proof that they do not keep logs. There is no reason to believe they do keep records—they insist they do not—but it is not externally verified, so you are taking their word for it.
They have servers in 60 countries and allow peer to peer (P2P/Torrenting) sharing most of those servers. Their app is very user-friendly and works on multiple devices and platforms.
Pricing-wise, Windscribe offers a monthly ($9.00/mo) plan or a yearly ($4.08/mo) plan, or you “build” a plan based on locations.
Cyberghost VPN has an impressively vast array of servers in almost 90 different countries. Torrenting is allowed on many of these servers, though not all of them. As well as the basic VPN functionality, Cyberghost also offers extras for blocking malicious websites and trackers, automated HTTPS redirection, and data compression to reduce bandwidth.
One feature CyberGhost can boast over other VPNs is the ability to connect up to seven devices simultaneously—two more than the industry average. Other than that, the features you get from this VPN are more or less what you get from ExpressVPN, NordVPN, and Windscribe. The pricing is in line with those services as well, with a month-to-month plan costing $12.99. That price drops significantly if you opt for a three-year plan, where you will be paying the equivalent of $2.75/mo.
Any of these VPN services will do the job of letting you access Netflix from out of the country, whichever country that may be. But be sure to weigh up the other features against your situation—particularly if you intend to reap the savings that a multi-year plan offers.